• Afghan Security Forces Need Reform, say agencies

Afghan Security Forces Need Reform, say agencies

17 May 2012

Aid agencies are calling on NATO leaders meeting in Chicago this weekend to take steps to make the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) more accountable.

Amid growing concerns about the conduct of these forces, humanitarian networks in Afghanistan and Europe have issued a series of papers (see list below).  They recommend specific reforms aimed at stamping out abuses and improving security for vulnerable Afghan women. 

These include increasing civilian oversight of the ANSF, tracking allegations of abuses against civilians and accelerating the recruitment of female security personnel.

Twenty national and international agencies called on NATO and the Afghan government to agree to commitments to ensure the Afghan National Security Forces are able to protect civilians, and are held accountable if they commit abuses. The agencies said that despite positive efforts to improve the quality of the ANSF, more action and safeguards were needed, pointing to consistent reports of abuse by poorly trained and unaccountable Afghan security personnel. 

Signatories include BAAG, Oxfam, Christian Aid, Human Rights Watch and the Norwegian Refugee Council.

BAAG logo           Oxfam           Christian Aid             

To read this report, click here 

ENNA - an umbrella group for European NGOs in Afghanistan - expressed similar concerns.  It suggested that efforts have recently been concentrated on building up the number of Afghan soldiers and police ahead of transition.  But it argues that the time has now come to devote resources to reinforcing, creating and strengthening the civilian structures that can guarantee a democratic use of Afghan security forces respectful of human rights and Afghan laws. 

ENNA's detailed recommendations have been circulated to NATO member states.  BAAG is a member of ENNA.  

          To read the report, click here

The Afghan Women's Network also released its own position paper ahead of the NATO summit, concentrating on the impact of transition on women's security.  The paper - based on interviews with 300 women's leaders across Afghanistan - highlighted women's fears about the transition process.  It said many women felt that they would not be adequately consulted about that process.  Women also expressed concerns about the conduct of the ANSF, particularly the Afghan Local Police Units.

The paper outlines a series of key recommendations to improve protection for Afghan women.

Afghan Women's Network            To read the Afghan Women's Network report, click here